*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 23, No. 09 February 27, 2004 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +FCC releases proposed BPL rules * +ARRL backs Hawaii antenna bills * +FCC continues to target alleged unlicensed operations * +Peggy Sue gets licensed! * +WA6MHZ wins San Diego SM race * +N0AX is 2003 Orr Technical Writing Award winner * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Emergency Communications course registration +Ham radio "personalities" to be W1AW contest ops SATERN net assisting with Haiti traffic Spacewalk ends early UO-11 to mark 20 years in space ARRL Foundation elects officers during annual meeting Charles D. "Chuck" Ritchie, W4BUG, SK Clarification +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>FCC PROPOSES RULES FOR BPL SYSTEMS The FCC this week released its Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on Broadband over Power Line (BPL) systems. The 38-page NPRM--in ET Dockets 03-104 and 04-37--proposes amendments to FCC Part 15 rules to define so-called "access BPL," make rules specific to BPL systems and provide measurement guidelines for BPL devices and systems. It would make no changes to Part 15 emission limits for unintentional radiators, however. ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, says that while Part 15's current limits on unintentional radiators on HF may be appropriate for short-duration, narrowband emissions, they are inappropriate for the sort of long-duration, broadband emissions BPL would employ. He compared short-duration, narrowband emissions at the Part 15 radiated emission limit to a helicopter flying overhead. "The noise is deafening, but is tolerable because it doesn't happen very often nor last very long," he observed. "To a radio user, having BPL in the neighborhood would be like having the helicopter hovering constantly overhead." ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, offered an example most hams could relate to. "The limit for an unintentional emitter on HF is 30 uV/m at 30 meters from the source," he said. "If you take a dipole cut for 3.5 MHz and put it in a 30 uV/m field, you'll have a noise reading of S9 plus 16 dB at your transceiver." The FCC proposal takes a broader view of interference. "There is significant disagreement among the commenting parties regarding the interference potential of Access BPL," the NPRM declares. "Amateur operators and amateur organizations in general are opposed to Access BPL and advocate emission limits that are lower than the existing Part 15 limits." Still, the NPRM concedes, Amateur Radio operations "are likely to present a difficult challenge in the deployment of Access BPL in cases where amateurs use high-gain outdoor antennas that are located near power lines." Noting that power line noise already presents a significant problem for hams, the FCC said, "we therefore would expect that, in practice, many amateurs already orient their antennas to minimize the reception of emissions from nearby electric power lines." The NPRM goes on to point out that because BPL has the capability to stay clear of specific frequencies, BPL providers can simply "avoid the use of amateur frequencies when in close proximity to amateur outdoor antennas." The NPRM also briefly mentions the possibility of interference to BPL systems from Amateur Radio, an issue ARRL and others raised in their comments on last April's Notice of Inquiry on BPL. The NPRM emphasizes that under the proposed rules, operators of Access BPL systems would be responsible for eliminating any harmful interference that may occur. The FCC says it believes current Part 15 emission limits for carrier current systems--in conjunction with certain additional requirements specific to Access BPL--"will be adequate to ensure that existing radio operations are protected against harmful interference." Sumner suggested that, with licensed services and government users taking up large portions of the HF spectrum, protecting all licensed HF users could prove to be a nightmare for BPL providers. He noted, too, that while the FCC maintains that licensed services must be protected, the proposed rules place the burden of initiating corrective action on the shoulders of the licensed services. "And as a practical matter, the FCC's proposed rules offer no protection at all to mobile and portable stations," he added. Sumner also said the ARRL would continue to combat the "misconception" that BPL systems are viable as a "last mile" broadband technology for rural dwellers. "In low-density areas, the economics just don't work," he said. The NPRM is available on the FCC Web site in Microsoft Word format <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-04-29A1.doc> or as an Adobe PDF file <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-04-29A1.pdf>. Interested parties may file detailed comments on the NPRM via the main FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) <http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/>. The comment deadline is 45 days after the NPRM has been published in The Federal Register, and that is not expected to happen for another week or two. The FCC also is accepting brief comments on the NPRM via its ECFS Express page <http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/ecfs/Upload/>. Additional information about BPL and Amateur Radio is on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/>. To support the League's efforts in this area, visit the ARRL's secure BPL Web site <https://www.arrl.org/forms/development/donations/bpl/>. ==>ARRL SUBMITS TESTIMONY SUPPORTING HAWAII ANTENNA BILLS The ARRL this week submitted written testimony in support of two pieces of Amateur Radio antenna legislation under consideration in Hawaii. House Bill 2774 would aid Hawaiian amateurs living in subdivisions subject to homeowners' association covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs). In general, HB 2774 would permit such Amateur Radio licensees in Hawaii to install antennas, feed lines and other telecommunications equipment "directly attached to the owner's residence or other permitted structure on the owner's lot." A second bill, HB 2773, would allow amateur licensees in condominiums to install antennas on their units under certain conditions, without needing permission from a condo owners' association or managing agent. "These bills would simply assure the ability of federally-licensed Amateur Radio operators to install unobtrusive, basically functional antenna systems without the often arbitrary, or arbitrarily administered, private regulations that routinely preclude Amateur Radio operation," the ARRL said in urging approval of both measures. Passage of the bills, the League asserted, would help to ensure stations would be available to provide emergency and disaster-related communications if normal communications were disrupted. Both measures are in the Hawaii House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, chaired by their sponsor, Rep Ken Hiraki (D-28). At a hearing on the two bills February 25, amateur operators spoke of the importance of the Amateur Service during emergencies, while representatives of condominium and planned community associations countered with the need to maintain the CC&Rs that all homeowners agreed to follow when they purchased. The committee subsequently voted to defer any decision on the fate of the bills until March 1. In its written testimony, the League said the two measures contain sufficient protections against adverse effects to neighbors, and "reach a good balance between the legitimate interests of condominium and apartment owner's associations and homeowner's associations on the one hand, and the clear benefit to the public of available Amateur Radio communications." The ARRL said the two Hawaii measures apply existing federal principles regarding "reasonable accommodation" of amateur communications to all residences, whether subject to municipal or private land-use regulations. "It would do so in a way as to protect those who might be directly affected, either aesthetically or in other respects, by an antenna installation," the League added. HR 2774 is similar in intent to HR 1478, the proposed legislation now in Congress that would apply the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 to CC&Rs on a nationwide basis. If approved, the measures would mark the first legislation on any level to address the restrictions that CC&Rs and homeowners' associations impose to hamper the installation of Amateur Radio antennas. Hiraki has been urging hams in Hawaii to contact their representatives to champion the legislation. He also is asking amateurs in Hawaii to submit their own comments in support of the bills and the need to pass them. Address letters to Rep Kenneth Hiraki, Chairman, Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, Hawaii State Capitol--Room 320, 415 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96813. Testimony in support of either or both bills also can be sent via e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> or via fax to 808-586-6181. Texts of the two bills, HR 2773 <http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/sessioncurrent/bills/hb2773_.htm> and HR 2774 <http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/sessioncurrent/bills/hb2774_.htm> are available on the Hawaii State Legislature Web site. ==>FCC KEEPS UP PRESSURE ON ALLEGED UNLICENSED 10-METER OPERATIONS The FCC is continuing efforts to stem alleged unlicensed operation--primarily by long-haul truckers--on the 10-meter amateur band. Enforcement Bureau Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth, this month wrote FedEx Corporation CEO Frederick W. Smith enclosing a complaint asserting that some FedEx drivers have used "Amateur Radio transmitters to communicate on the 10-meter Amateur Radio band without a license," Hollingsworth said. The complaint focused on alleged operations in Tennessee. "Many truckers use CB radio, which does not require a license," Hollingsworth told Smith. "However, any person using a radio transmitter on Amateur Radio frequencies must possess both a station and operator license, for which an examination is required." He pointed out that some truckers have been known to use uncertificated dual-purpose CB radios that also can transmit on 10 meters. CB gear must be FCC certificated, formerly known as type acceptance, but ham radio gear does not need to be. So-called dual-use ham/CB transceivers may not be sold or marketed under FCC rules. Two additional trucking firms this month were the target of FCC warning notices involving complaints of unlicensed operation on 10 meters. Hollingsworth wrote Carl Leonard Ross of CLR Transport in Saluda, North Carolina, citing allegations that a CLR Transport vehicle traveling on I-85 in North Carolina "was the source of unlicensed radio transmissions on the 10-meter Amateur Radio band on July 14, 2003." Cassidy's Express of Bristol, Pennsylvania, heard from the FCC regarding reports that one of its vehicles was the source of unlicensed radio transmissions while under way in Pennsylvania last October 9. Hollingsworth asked Smith to advise FedEx drivers that such operation of radio transmitting equipment without a license is a violation of federal law and could subject violators to stiff fines and even jail time as well as seizure of equipment. Pointing out the same penalties for violators, Hollingsworth asked the other two trucking firms to contact him to discuss the allegations. Earlier this year, the FCC sent warning notices to two shipping companies in the wake of reports to the Commission that some of the companies' vehicles may have been illegally transmitting on 10 meters. At least one of the companies, UPS, offered its full cooperation and promised to investigate. ==>PEGGY SUE GETS LICENSED! During the recent Buddy Holly W5B commemorative special event operation, Peggy Sue Gerron-Rackham was perhaps the most prominent of the W5B guest operators. The namesake of Holly's 1957 "rockabilly" hit "Peggy Sue"--who went to high school with Holly and later married the drummer in his band, The Crickets--says participating in the W5B event sharpened her desire to get her ham license. That happened this week when the FCC granted her the call sign KE5AKW. She now plans to apply for a vanity call sign. "Out of all the Buddy Holly events that I have attended in my life," she said after the W5B special event. "This event will always stand out in my memory." As rock n' roll history has it, Holly originally titled the song "Cindy Lou," but Crickets drummer Jerry Allison convinced the singer to change the tune's name to "Peggy Sue" just before the recording session. Gerron, who still goes by that name, says that story is "close" to the truth but not entirely accurate. After Holly's death, Gerron toured with The Crickets when the band got back together. Holly's follow-up song "Peggy Sue Got Married" inspired a 1986 movie starring Kathleen Turner. Over the years, Gerron has made public appearances all over the country--including on "Oprah," VH1, the Oxygen Network, as well as network TV, and has worked as a speaker, columnist, back-up singer and talk radio co-host (her show was called "Rave On"). Getting on the air during the W5B special event, however, turned out to be very "special" for her. "You can do TV specials, and you can be interviewed by the very best DJs," she said, but there is nothing like the feeling of putting your finger down and transmitting your call sign and having somebody answer back." The Buddy Holly special event--January 29 through February 2 in Holly's home town of Lubbock, Texas--marked the 45th anniversary of the entertainer's untimely death in a February 3, 1959, plane crash in Iowa. The mishap also claimed the lives of early rock n' rollers Ritchie Valens and JP "The Big Bopper" Richardson. The Lubbock Amateur Contest Club's W5LCC provided the site for the special event station. Some area hams still remember Holly as a classmate at Lubbock High School. Bryan Edwards, W5KFT, who obtained the W5B call sign, reports W5B logged more than 1000 contacts. The special event generated a lot of interest in talking to Peggy Sue, and she obliged as many as possible. A few shared personal recollections of Holly and his music. "This is not planned conversation," Gerron said of Amateur Radio. "It's one person communicating with another. Is anybody out there? You bet they are! Keep rockin'!" Other operators during the W5B special event included Doug Hutton, W5JUV, Terry Bajuk, KE5BL, Dennis Brush, WA5CBG, Joey Johnston, KC5MVZ, Eddie Petmecky, KC5OBX, Davis Plunkett, K5DLP, Rick Roy, KB5KYJ, and Tom Tucker, KB5UOP.--thanks to Mike Gruber, W1MG, who provided information for this article ==>BUNSOLD WINS SAN DIEGO SECTION MANAGER ELECTION In the only contested ARRL Section Manager race in the current election cycle, Patrick Bunsold, WA6MHZ, of El Cajon, California, has been elected as the ARRL San Diego SM. He outpolled Stephen Early, AD6VI, 378 to 258. Election ballots were counted February 24 at ARRL Headquarters. Bunsold previously served two terms as San Diego SM--from 1994 to 1998. He'll be stepping into the shoes of current SM Kent Tiburski, K6FQ, who decided not to run for re-election. Six other incumbent SMs ran unopposed and were declared elected. They are Pete Cecere, N2YJZ, Eastern New York; Eric Olena, WB3FPL, Eastern Pennsylvania; Mickey Cox, K5MC, Louisiana; John Covington, W4CC, North Carolina; Richard Beebe, N0PV, South Dakota and Carl Clements, W4CAC, Virginia. All successful candidates begin their two-year terms on April 1. Kevin Bogan, AH6QO, also elected without opposition in the current election cycle as the new the Pacific SM, began his term earlier this year after being appointed to replace outgoing SM Bob Schneider, AH6J, who stepped down before his term ended. ==>N0AX WINS 2003 ORR TECHNICAL WRITING AWARD The ARRL Foundation has bestowed the 2003 Bill Orr, W6SAI, Technical Writing Award on QST Contributing Editor H. Ward Silver, N0AX, of Vashon Island, Washington. The action came during the foundation's annual meeting, held via teleconference February 12. The Foundation Board of Directors cited Silver's "fine technical series in QST and other League venues." ARRL Northwestern Division Director Greg Milnes, W7OZ--a foundation board member--will present Silver with a $250 award and a commemorative plaque at an upcoming meeting of the Western Washington DX Club. "I really am thrilled to win the award because I greatly admired the technical savvy and writing of Bill Orr," Silver said. "I still have several of his antenna books on my bookshelf. His Radio Handbooks were very helpful as companions to The ARRL Handbook, as well." The award selection is made by the ARRL editorial staff, based on articles published in QST during 2003, that most exemplify the writing philosophy of Bill Orr--that articles should tell a technical "story" that appeals to a broad audience extending beyond those individuals who have a particular interest in the topic. Silver said that his main goal as an Amateur Radio writer is to light that same spark in other beginners as authors such as Orr lighted for him. "I owe a lot of my writing and drawing style to QST and other League publications, so it is particularly gratifying to be recognized as continuing the tradition," he said. The avid and well-known contester has authored more than 200 articles for ARRL publications. In 2003, Silver started his popular "Hands-On Radio" series in QST. He is also the editor of the Contester's Rate Sheet <http://www.arrl.org/contests/rate-sheet/> and the ARRL Antenna Design Course <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html#ec009>, and is the author of N0AX's Radio Puzzler. He's also written feature articles and product reviews for QST, and penned the "Contest Corral" and "Test Your Knowledge" columns in the journal. "Ward's got a great sense of how to write for beginners," said QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY. "He can take a complicated subject and explain it to anyone. Another great strength is his sense of humor in his writing. Between those two strengths, he can make almost any subject palatable." ==>SOLAR UPDATE Propagation prognosticator Tad "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: A large sunspot emerged over the past week. On February 21, sunspot 564 began to appear around the east limb of the visible solar disk. By February 23, it was five times as large as Earth. The sunspot was rotating across the upper hemisphere of the sun, so it was never aimed squarely toward earth, but it was most directed toward us on February 25. Average daily sunspot numbers were slightly higher this week than last. Average daily solar flux was lower by 0.2 point. Solar activity is rising, and solar flux should peak between February 28 to March 1 at around 130. A sunspot currently is forming on the far side of the sun, and it may cause a slight rise in solar flux around March 8. Geomagnetic conditions have been very quiet this week. Sunspot 563 released two solar flares on February 26. Earth is expected to encounter a solar wind stream on February 29 or March 1. Planetary A index predictions for February 27 through March 2 are 12, 12, 15, 20 and 20. Sunspot numbers for February 19 through 25 were 33, 34, 52, 58, 68, 85 and 107, with a mean of 62.4. The 10.7 cm flux was 96.4, 95.4, 98.2, 103.9, 104.3, 105.5 and 118.5, with a mean of 103.2. Estimated planetary A indices were 5, 4, 7, 8, 8, 11 and 8, with a mean of 7.3. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The CQ 160-Meter Contest (SSB), the REF Contest (SSB), the UBA DX Contest (CW), the Mississippi and North Carolina QSO parties, the Russian PSK World Wide contest, the CZEBRIS Contest, the North American QSO Party (RTTY) and the High Speed Club CW Contest are the weekend of February 28-29. JUST AHEAD: The RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (Data) is March 1; the ARS Spartan Sprint and the AGCW YL-CW Party are March 2. The ARRL International DX Contest (SSB), the Makrothen RTTY Contest, the Open Ukraine RTTY Championship, the DARC 10-Meter Digital Contest are the weekend of March 6-7. The RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (CW) is March 10, and the Pesky Texan Armadillo Chase is March 11. See the ARRL Contest Branch page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar <http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/index.html> for more info. * ARRL Emergency Communications course registration: Registration opens Monday, March 1, 12:01 AM Eastern Time (0501 UTC), for the on-line Level I Emergency Communications course (EC-001). Registration remains open through the March 6-7 weekend or until all available seats have been filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday, March 16. Thanks to our grant sponsors--the Corporation for National and Community Service and the United Technologies Corporation--the $45 registration fee paid upon enrollment will be reimbursed after successful completion of the course. During this registration period, approximately 175 seats are being offered to ARRL members on a first-come, first-served basis. Senior amateurs are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/>. For more information, contact Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, <email@example.com>; 860-594-0340. * Ham radio "personalities" to be W1AW contest ops: ARRL Life Members Joe Walsh, WB6ACU, of the band The Eagles, and ham radio audio expert and manufacturer Bob Heil, K9EID, of Heil Sound will be on hand at Maxim Memorial station W1AW during the March 6-7 weekend to operate the ARRL International DX Contest (SSB) <http://www.arrl.org/contests/rules/2004/intldx.html>. ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, says Walsh--a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and Eagles guitarist and vocalist--and Heil will be available to work zero-point contacts with US stations during the DX contest. Walsh is a major benefactor of the ARRL Education and Technology Program <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/tbp/>. He and Heil will be part of a multioperator team that will include Henderson as well as ARRL HQ staffers Dave Patton, NN1N, Mark Spencer, WA8SME, and Mary Hobart, K1MMH, among others. A special W1AW QSL card featuring a photo of Walsh and Heil will be available for those working W1AW during the event. Enclose an SASE when requesting a card. W1AW will not begin DX contest operations until regularly scheduled bulletin and code practice transmissions have ended sometime early Saturday, March 6 (UTC). It's anticipated that W1AW will be on the air for the rest of the contest period, which ends at 2400 March 7, although Walsh and Heil will only operate March 6. Walsh and Heil will tour ARRL Headquarters March 5. It will mark Walsh's first visit to HQ. * SATERN net assisting with Haiti traffic: The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) Net has activated on 20 meters to assist with health-and-welfare traffic for the troubled nation of Haiti. The net convenes on or near 14.265 MHz. Jim Adams, WA0LSB, is coordinating net control operators for the activation, while Quent Nelson, WA4BZY, is the health-and-welfare team leader. SATERN National Director Pat McPherson, WW9E, says SATERN members are being encouraged to monitor the net frequency and to assist in relaying traffic as needed. SATERN also offers a health-and-welfare link <http://qso.com/satern/emailfrm.htm> on its Web site , for use by those seeking information on family and friends who may be affected by the crisis in Haiti. * Spacewalk ends early: Russian space officials this week cut short Expedition 8's spacewalk due to a cooling system problem in one of the Russian Orlan space suits. The "extravehicular activity" or EVA ended February 27 at 0112 UTC. Unlike previous spacewalks by ISS crews, there was not a crew member inside the station as the spacewalkers worked outside. Despite the early end to the EVA, Crew commander Mike Foale, KB5UAC, and Flight Engineer Sasha Kaleri, U8MIR, were able to complete nearly two-thirds of their scheduled work. Initial indications are that a kink in a tube in Kaleri's liquid cooling garment was preventing the flow of water through the suit. The spacewalk began February 26 at 2117 UTC and lasted 3 hours 55 minutes. During the EVA, the NA1SS ham gear aboard the ISS remained shut down for safety reasons. There's more information on the NASA Web site <http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/spacenews/reports/issreports/2004/iss04-11.ht ml>--NASA * UO-11 to mark 20 years in space: UO-11 (also known as UOSAT-2) will turn 20 years old on March 1. To mark the event, AMSAT-UK will issue a commemorative QSL card in exchange for listener reports from stations monitoring the satellite's signal during the month of March 2004. The reports must be posted via the reporting page on the AMSAT-UK Web site <http://www.uk.amsat.org/uo-11/default.php>, and QSL cards will be in the form of a downloadable E-QSL. UO-11 was the second satellite to be launched by the University of Surrey group headed by Martin Sweeting, G3YJO. Its telemetry beacon can be heard on 145.825 MHz FM using just a handheld radio. UO-11 also has a 2401.5 MHz beacon, although hearing the 2.4 GHz signal could present a challenge. "Depending on the status of the satellite, it sometimes goes into 'safe' mode, and the beacon transmitters are not active for days at a time," said Trevor, M5AKA. "The University of Surrey Ground station staff will attempt to maximize the number of days the transmitters are active during March." More information is available on the AMSAT-UK Web site <http://www.uk.amsat.org/>. * Charles D. "Chuck" Ritchie, W4BUG, SK: Chuck Ritchie, W4BUG--known as the "BUG of Boca Raton"--died February 13. He was 79. An Amateur Radio licensee since 1947 (originally K2GRM), Ritchie served for 11 years as the ARES/RACES Emergency Coordinator for South Palm Beach County, Florida. In 1999 Boca Raton proclaimed July 13 "Chuck Ritchie Day" and dedicated the city's new emergency communications room he'd helped establish in his honor. Ritchie served two US presidents during his US Army career with the White House Army Signal Agency, where he headed the Press Radio and Television section. During World War II, Ritchie--then a recording engineer in the Public Information Office of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces in London--set up the microphones and recording gear for General Dwight Eisenhower's announcement of the June 6, 1944, D-Day landing of Allied Forces on the beaches of Normandy. He served presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy before retiring from the Army in 1963. Ritchie also was active in the US Air Force MARS program and handled thousands of phone patches for US troops during the Gulf War. Survivors include his wife, Shirley, N4JKI, and a son. * Clarification: The story "NPR Feature Spotlights Addition of @ Symbol to Morse Code" in The ARRL Letter, Vol 23, No 08 (Feb 20, 2004), may have incorrectly implied that ARRL Chief Technology Officer Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, originated the idea of adding the "@" symbol to the Morse code. Rinaldo did conceive of the new character--the letters A and C run together--but others had suggested years earlier the need to establish a Morse equivalent for the "@" symbol. =========================================================== The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; <http://www.arrl.org/>. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President. 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